FanDuel Runs Free NCAA Bracket Pick’em Contest With $5,000 Top Prize

Learn the rules of FanDuel’s free NCAA Bracket Pick’em contest and get our optimal strategy for your best chance to win the $5,000 top prize.
March Madness Bracket
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After the First Four play-in games on Tuesday and Wednesday, the NCAA’s 2018 March Madness tournament officially kicks off Thursday at 12:15pm with No. 7 Rhode Island taking on No. 10 Oklahoma.

In case you haven’t already filled out way too many brackets, daily fantasy sports (DFS) operator FanDuel has partnered with SeatGeek to run a free entry Bracket Pick’em promotion in which you could win up to $5,000.

The rules of the game

If you’re anything like me, filling out 64-team March Madness brackets gets old after the second or third one. Evidently, FanDuel agrees as their new Bracket Pick’em game – which you can enter for free – requires players to pick just five teams.

Here’s a rundown of the rules and scoring:

  • Pick 5 teams whose seeds add up to at least 20
  • Get points every time one of your teams win a game
  • The deeper your teams go, the more points their wins are worth
  • Every team’s earned points are multiplied by their tournament seed (a 16 seed earns 16x more points per win than a 1 seed)

Looks like FanDuel understands the frustration of trying to pick a perfect bracket. I’m all bracket-ed out but this only took 30 seconds to complete. And let’s be honest, what kind of gambler doesn’t love a freeroll?

What can you win?

The great thing about FanDuel’s Bracket Pick’em game is you can win in three different ways:

  • Finish with 400 or more points, win an NBA free play entry
  • Finish with 2,500 or more points, share an equal portion of $20,000
  • Finish with the most points overall and win $5,000

Any of these prizes are a good return for 30 seconds of work, but I suggest going for the gusto and trying to win it all.

The strategy

Speaking of trying to win it all, Jim Sannes of numberFire did an awesome deep-dive into which seeds have historically performed the best by FanDuel’s Bracket Pick’em scoring. This kind of analysis is extremely important with a seed multiplier scoring system since you need to hone in on the seeds that most often run deep into the tournament.

Based on the Sannes’ findings, 3 seeds have historically been the best combination of floor and upside. Since picking all four 3 seeds only brings your seed total to 12, it means the last pick will have to be an 8-12 seed longshot to reach the required total of 20. But that’s okay, we’re in it to win it, remember?

So, will you go the 3 seed route? Who will you pair with Tennessee, Texas Tech, Michigan and Michigan State? I’m partial to 10 seed Providence, but they have a potential matchup with the Tar Heels in round 2, so it’s a gamble.

Is this legal?

In 2017, New Jersey passed a law legalizing daily fantasy sports, creating clarity in the Garden State for an industry that has often operated in a legal grey area. While New Jersey was never considered an especially risky market for DFS operators to target, the law clarified legality and established a framework for new products to evolve in the state.

The DFS law’s passage came on the heels of the announcement of a partnership between Sport AD and Resorts Casino – the first of its kind. The result of this partnership is a product called FastPick, which has become popular as something of a hybrid between fantasy sports and parlay betting.

With the upcoming possibility of legal sports betting in New Jersey, expect to see more and more contests that push the boundaries between skill-based competition and straight up gambling.

Good luck with your free FanDuel NCAA Bracket Pick’em entry and enjoy March Madness!

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